Until 2014, an annual charity golf tournament was the major fundraiser for Fernie Rotary. Since then Rotary has chosen to take a different route to raise funds.
“Tammy Ogden is a colleague of mine at Teck and also sits on the Elk Valley Festival of Trees committee,” said organizing committee member Casey Brennan. “She is the one that suggested sponsoring a Festival of Trees. There are many communities across Canada that host the Festival of Trees and they can be a very successful fundraiser often for a hospital foundation. Fernie Rotary decided to go in a bit of a different direction with the Elk Valley Festival of Trees wanting to try and benefit as many local organizations as possible and also hoping to build connections in the Elk Valley. The Festival of Trees will feature ten beautifully decorated trees in the courtyard at the Park Place Lodge as they have partnered with Fernie Rotary. All of the events will take place at the Park Place over three weeks [Nov. 18 to Dec. 4].”
Each of the ten trees will have a sponsor and voters will pay for a ticket and vote on their favourite tree.
“A tree sponsor is partnered with a local charity, non-profit society or community group and a tree designer to come up with a fabulous tree design. Everyone is encouraged to come and see the trees and vote for their favourite tree. Each vote will be worth $3.75 to the sponsored community group and the most popular tree will win a $1000 grand prize,” said Brennan. “Events will start on November 18 with a private Tree Lighting reception for sponsors and their community organizations followed by a Spirits of Christmas event open to the public where attendees will have a chance to check out the beautiful trees while enjoying some tasty tapas accompanied by samples of local B.C. wine, beer and spirits.”
According to Brennan the events are designed to get a variety of participants.
“Fernie Rotary will host a seniors lunch at their regular Wednesday meeting on November 23. Sponsored by Teck, the lunch will bring together seniors from around the valley for a chance to see the spectacular trees and vote for their favourites. The next weekend will see a Holiday Fair and vendors market on November 25 and 26 featuring an opportunity to have your picture with Santa,” said Brennan. “December 3 will feature a couples date night with a free movie party upstairs for the kids. The Grand Finale will start with the annual Park Place Lodge Brunch with Santa on December 4 and the last chance to vote for your favourite trees and get your picture with Santa.”
While the events will be held in Fernie, Brennan hopes to get some participation from surrounding communities.
“The event is for the entire community. We hope that people from outside of Fernie will come to see the trees and get photos with Santa. The more community participation the better as this is a fundraiser for ten different community groups from Fernie, Sparwood and Elkford,” said Brennan. “People can come to the events or drop by the Park Place Lodge anytime between November 18th and December 4 to see the trees and buy a ticket to vote for their favourite.”
For more information on the event visit Elk Valley Festival of Trees on facebook.